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New report says 2020 was fourth worst year on record for natural disasters in Canada

Last Updated Jan 18, 2021 at 7:53 am MDT

A hail damaged car parked on a flooded street as residents begin cleaning up in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 14, 2020, after a major hail storm damaged homes and flooded streets on Saturday. The powerful hail storm that pounded homes, vehicles and crops across parts of southern Alberta on June 13 caused almost $1.2 billion in insured damage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Extreme weather battered this province in 2020, as Alberta had three of Canada’s costliest natural disasters of the year.

A new report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) showed that severe weather caused roughly $2.4 billion in insured damage in 2020.

The June hailstorm in Calgary, flooding in Fort McMurray, and storms in central Alberta topped the list.

Craig Stewart with the Insurance Bureau of Canada said it also made for the fourth worst year on record.

“For whatever reason, it does tend to be one of the bigger loss areas in the country. Southern Alberta is no stranger to severe weather events historically, but this past year was particularly bad.”

Stewart also noted nine out of the last 10 worst years on record are in the last decade and that Canada is often caught off-guard by events out of our control.

“We weren’t prepared for the pandemic, clearly, like other countries, but we’re also not prepared for these severe weather events that just to be happening with greater intensity and frequency across the country. This country just needs to be better prepared for disasters of all kind.”

WATCH: History making hailstorm

The IBC said that for every dollar paid for insurance claims Stewart said three to four dollars are paid by taxpayers to repair public infrastructure.

The new report acknowledges that Canada still lacks a national adaptation strategy needed to protect Canadian homes and businesses, especially as natural disasters are expected to worsen due to climate change.

“One of the known impacts of climate change is an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events and the damages they cause,” said President & CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Dr. Richard Florizone, Ph.D.

“In addition to reducing emissions, Canada also needs a national adaptation plan to protect and prepare Canadians for a changing climate.”

The IBC said the federal government’s creation of the Task Force on High-Risk Residential Flood Insurance and Strategic Relocation was an important accomplishment in 2020.

That task force allows insurers to work with governments to make sure every Canadian has access to affordable flood insurance but the IBC added this should be part of a larger coherent plan.